Ghosts of Ramadan Past

Me: "What time does the sun set tonight?
KG: "I think around 7:20 but I'll check on-line to make sure."
Me: "Well, yesterday it was 7:21 and it's been going down by two minutes every day so it might be 7:19."
KG's Mom: "I have never been in a room with so many people interested in the precise minute the sun sets!"
Me to myself and telepathically to KG: (I guess you've never fasted every day for weeks, have you?)

The exchange above got me reminiscing about past Ramadans.  The first memory was of a time when we were all going to my parents' friends' house for Iftar one year.  All of the adults were chatting and all the teenagers and above were watching TV.  Mornings were always rough for me because I was just too tired to eat a pre-dawn hearty meal.  The combination of a growling tummy and a Swatch watch that was so cool that its face had no numbers or marks or anything to pinpoint the minutes led me to go into an empty room and call the date-and-time phone number over and over again until it was time to eat.  I think I was 14 at the time.

Then I started thinking about other Ramadan memories.  
  • Like the time that Dad insisted on playing a Doctors v. Nurses Softball game in the middle of summer while fasting and how we, on the sidelines and in the shade, cheered him on as we simultaneously thought he was crazy.  
  • Or the time we were in Pakistan that year and I was astounded with the topsy-turvy way in which the city would completely shut down during the day and be ablaze with lights and activity at night.
  • Or the time that I spent an entire day in bed reading "One Thousand and One Nights" or "Arabian Nights" because it was summer time and I was off from school and what better way to pass the day than in a air-conditioned room on your cozy bed with a book?  
  • Or the times I had to explain to my friends in high school why I was spending our lunch break in the library rather than in the lunchroom.  
  • Or the time I was on my own at college for the first time and managed to keep all the fasts by having a cheese omelet and a huge glass of chocolate milk every single morning.
  • Or the time my college roommate and I decided to get a jump start on an April Fool joke since it was so early in the morning that our victim would be too sleepy to figure out the prank we were playing [aside:  that was the very last time I ever played an April Fool's joke.  It totally backfired and I recently celebrated a milestone anniversary of 15 years of calling my victim up on April 1 and apologizing].  
  • Or the time I was so touched that my new friends in law school woke up and treated me to pancakes for sehri despite the freezing weather and ungodly hour.  [aside:  hey, Jules, was that IHOP or Denny's or some other local St. Louis 24 hour diner?]
  • Or the time LB and I were driving to an aunty's house in Chesterfield and we were lost and running late and didn't know what time the sun was supposed to set so we just watched the sun actually set and broke our fasts in the car with some gum.
  • Or the times when Mom would mail, yes, U.S. Post Office or UPS mail, us aloo parathas and/or congo bars during Ramadan.
  • Or the time we had a Thanksgiving Ramadan in Georgia with special guest star cousins visiting from Pakistan where every square inch of the apartment was taken by a sleeping body but the chai and omelets were hot in the morning and the big party dinner was delicious at night.  And the next night.  And the next night.
  • Or the first Ramadan I shared with TP [aside: that was the year he read the entire Quran]
  • Or the first Ramadan I shared with LB alone [aside: that was the year I discovered that Sara Lee's All Butter Pound Cake made a fine contribution to sehri]
  • Or the days when I used to work in the same building as a bunch of Arabs (they were our clients) and we'd have an amazing, hot, instant iftar in the office every evening with falafels, stuffed grape leaves, lentil soup, hummus, kibbe, yogurt, and oh man, I need to stop reminiscing or else my drool will short-circuit my keyboard.  


Anjum said...

you HAVE to tell us wht the april fools prank was!! how bad it could have been if you'e still apologizing 15 yrs later!!

Julestress said...


Best 24 hour breakfast joint in St. Louis.

wayfarer said...

i want to know the april fool's joke too!

baj said...

anj and way - no. way.

jul - yes! "Breakfast is served round-the-clock" -- we can certainly attest to that. thanks again!!!

HijabMan said...

happy talk like a pirate day, Baj!

Cant wait to see you guys in a week.

Btw, whos barftar is it? hahaha

I need to find an appropriate gift!

baj said...

and to ye, fine lad!!! i'm so happy ye remembered! you get one 'get out of being keel hauled pass'.

as for whose biftar, c'est moi! no gifts needed - especially since you'll be hiking it down here - but if you ARE bringing something, i thought you were bringing olive oil? please, however, do not bring medjool dates - i have enough to swim in.

yasmine said...

is it time yet?!
is it time yet?!

(interro-drools and pouts and whiny voices!)

dude, i am laughing so hard at this post, and i don't even know where to BEGIN on commenting.

1. gum as iftar? sigh.

2. 15 years of calling to apologize for april's fool pranks?! (interro-YOU MUST TELL US!)

have pesto hummus on the brainS again!
must go to trader joe's...

Saeed said...

Hey, i just remembered, isnt someone around here getting a year older one of thesedays?!-coz i am too, & i remembered yours is a day before/after mine...i dunno abt how u feel, but i sure dont feel too gud abt having to increase the number that denotes my age, already.
hey, Happy burt'day!

baj said...

yaz - trader joe's rules. except when you are fasting. b/c then you end up getting wayyyy too much food that looks so delicious on the shelf but by the time you get home, you find you barely have room for it all let alone time to cook it. maybe it's just me.

sd - wow, awesome memory! i remember that yr a libra too! happy early/belated bday to ye!

Osman said...

what a great post, baji. that watch definitely wasn't iftar-friendly!
and happy birthday!


baj said...

thanks for remembering, oz! :) see you in two months!